“How do you feel about philanthropy? What is your purpose in life? Tell me about your family. I believe a great father is a great employee. I believe a great mother is a great employee. I believe someone who’s willing to give up their free time to help others is a great employee…” As reported in a series of articles in The New York Times, this is how one successful American executive interviews job candidates.
Japan is not exactly a country of clear and open communication. That must be one reason why so few people here ever know about any given social problem. But the constant stream of news reports of women killing their babies makes this issue hard to ignore. It also makes me wonder why the Japanese government doesn’t shout from the roof tops what it only whispers now: “Bring us your child, anytime for any reason… no scolding and no risk.”
A true Japanese hero, Shinya Yamanaka, co-winner of the 2012 Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine, is all the more admirable because he persevered when the scientific community “didn’t give him the slightest chance of succeeding,” says Alan Coleman, executive director at Singapore Stem Cell Consortium. But after years of searching and sometimes almost giving up in despair, he did succeed…on several levels.
Just one year ago, people in Japan were pulling together. Actually, it felt like the whole world was pulling for Japan. I loved the patriotic fervor of the “Ganbare Japan” and “Pray for Japan” type slogans that grew from a desire to see this country heal and come back strong. My neighbors often expressed heartfelt gratitude for the foreign volunteers who were pouring in to help the survivors of the great disaster of 2011. In the shock and horror of that time, one source of comfort was that we were not alone. Japan even seemed to be opening up to the world in a new way.
-UPDATED: September 19th, 10:35 PM The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists contacted the JDP to indicate that the College does not 'recommend that all pregnant women regardless of age be screened for Down syndrome." It rather recommends that all pregnant women regardless of age be OFFERED screening. An American company has given Japan the gift of easier, earlier, and accurate pre-natal testing for Down syndrome. Amazingly, the medical profession in Japan is hoping to halt the widespread implementation of this new diagnostic method which it fears will lead to the “casual use of abortion.” Contrast this with the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists which has long recommended that all pregnant women regardless of age be offered screening for Down syndrome during their first trimester.
According to the “Trafficking in Persons Report 2012,” Japan was rated a Tier 2 country. This means, “The Government of Japan does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so.” After 8 years of a Tier 2 rating, its “significant efforts” seem to be falling short.
I was at my neighborhood beauty salon yesterday getting my hair cut when I threw out the question, “When you get old, would you rather have a robot or a foreign woman take care of you?” The consensus was definitely a human being of any nationality was better than a robot. One woman commented that she didn’t believe Japanese young people would want to do such jobs in the future, nor that they would have the patience to do them. She thought foreign women were the only real option.
I had a hunch. Then, I did a search "pornography sexual drive." Up came articles about how pornography is killing the sex drive of American men. An article in New York Magazine told stories of men who were having dates with porn stars on the internet while becoming less able to perform with the real women in their lives. The poor female partners of these men were trying their best to imitate these porn stars, but the men were only “freaked out” by their best efforts.
After reading those awful tweets by Americans about the women’s soccer gold medal, I felt a strong urge to praise a Japanese woman. It doesn’t negate those mean-spirited sentiments, but it will make me feel a lot better.
Several facts stood out to me from the recent report on the record-high number of child abuse cases in Japan in 2010. One was that in the previous three months, only seven petitions to temporarily suspend parental rights were presented to the court. And of those, only one was granted. Realize that these were not petitions to end parental rights, just to suspend them for up to two years.